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Ashgate Hospice > What makes a good death? – Sophie Dudley and Amanda Hall, Specialist Palliative Care Nurses

Specialist Palliative Care Nurses, Sophie Dudley and Amanda Hall, discuss what a ‘good death’ means to them.


What does a ‘good death’ mean to you, Sophie?  

I think a good death is one that the patient wanted. To be as settled, comfortable and pain free as possible, in the place that they want to be. For us, it is about ensuring that the patient’s wishes are met, whether that is to be surrounded by loved ones, their pets and their favourite things, or simply being in their own bed.  


Amanda, what does it mean to you to be able to support someone who is dying? 

We only get to do it once, so it’s important to try and get it right. How someone dies lives on with those they leave behind, so knowing it was as good as it can possibly be, can be a huge comfort at a really difficult time. We do this job because we care about people and want the best for them and their loved ones. I like to try and look after someone how I would want my own family member to be treated.   


How can everyone at Ashgate help support those who are dying? 

Amanda says: “By being open and honest. Talking about things that are deemed hard and emotional can really help people prepare and plan, and it can relieve a lot of anxiety. As professionals, we need to be confident with guiding difficult conversations and provide that reassurance. As specialists it’s our role to advise and support people with difficult symptoms, help co-ordinate their care but always prioritise someone’s wishes. If they want to celebrate a last Christmas early in July, then that’s what we’ll do! It’s about looking at the whole picture and all working together as a team.” 

Sophie agrees: “Whilst it’s important for the people directly involved in the patient’s care to provide a good death, it’s also important to wider communities that we continue to promote palliative care and our hospice services, while we try and reduce stigma and fear around death and dying.”